2011 Prefontaine 5,000m And 10,000m: Americans Disappoint, Mo Farah Impresses, Vivian Cheruiyot Wins Again

By LetsRun.com
June 3, 2011

While the action at "Distance Night in Eugene" at the Prefontaine Classic was stellar - with a world 30km record by Moses Mosop to start the night off and a surprising European record run by Mo Farah at 10,000m to end it - it was extremely disappointing for the group of people getting the most attention before the meet, the Americans in the 5,000m and 10,000m.

First, World XC Champ Shalane Flanagan came up short in her American record 5,000m attempt. Then things got stranger. When the men came to the starting line for the start of the men's 10,000m, Oregon hero Galen Rupp was nowhere to be seen. That left all the American hopes on American record holder Chris Solinsky. Solinsky would drop out just after 3,000m (when he was near the back but actually still ahead of eventual champion Mo Farah). We recap both the women's 5,000m and men's 10,000m below. The world record by Mosop and his plans to run a 2:02 marathon gets its own story here.

Women's 5,000m

This race was supposed to be an epic battle between world record holder Tirunesh Dibaba, World 5,000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot and World 10,000m champion Linet Masai, with world XC bronze medallist Shalane Flanagan expected to challenge the American record (14:44.76). Dibaba, however, did not toe the line, sidelined with a stress reaction.

The race's plans went further awry when the hot early pace that people expected did not materialize. The first km was a modest 2:59.69 (14:59 pace). Despite the slow pace, the field was strung out with a gap behind the rabbit Korene Hinds.

The pace only picked up marginally the 2nd kilometer before slowing back down the third. Things quickened the 4th kilometer and with a kilometer to go when the racing for the win started, Shalane Flanagan got dropped. The American record was slipping away, as Flanagan was at 12:27 with 2 laps to go.

The battle for the win was still going on up front and Vivian Cheruiyot showed why she is the top female distance runner on the planet. The world XC champion strode away from Linet Masai on the final lap to get the win in an American all-comers record of 14:33.96 (thanks to a last k of 2:42.00), easily defeating Masai's 14:35.44, while Mercy Cherono set a PR of 14:37.01. Former Texas Tech NCAA star Sally Kipyego was a respectable 4th and Flanagan came in under 14:50 in 6th.

Afterwards, Flanagan was popular with the autograph seekers but realistic about her chances at the World level at the 5,000m. She said, "I felt good early on, but I should at 15 minute pace ... I've got limited speed right now with altitude training and just where I'm at in the season. It's slowly coming around ... I've got to be running 14:30s on any given day to be competitive on the world stage in the 5, so the 10 looks more likely (for Worlds)."

Kara Goucher was a respectable 15:11 less than 2 months after the Boston Marathon and less than a year after giving birth, while Amy Yoder Begley put up a distant 15:54.

Interview and results below:

Shalane Flanagan Talks About Her Race And Autographs A $1 Bill

1
KEN
14:33.96
MR
8
2
KEN
14:35.44
3
3
KEN
14:37.01
PB
1
4
KEN
14:39.71
 
5
KEN
14:47.71
 
6
USA
14:49.68
 
7
ETH
14:59.71
 
8
KEN
15:00.08
SB
 
9
USA
15:11.47
 
10
KEN
15:15.15
 
11
CAN
15:15.33
 
12
USA
15:40.20
 
13
AUS
15:41.49
 
14
KEN
15:48.22
 
15
USA
15:54.64
 
16
USA
16:09.51
 
 
JAM
DNF
 
 
USA
DNF
 
 
ETH
DNS
 

Intermediate times:
1,000m Hinds, Korene (JAM) 2:59.69
2,000m Ayalew, Wude (ETH) 5:56.00 (2:56.31)
3,000m Ayalew, Wude (ETH) 8:56.79 (3:00.79)
4,000m Cheruiyot, Vivian Jepkemoi (KEN) 11:51.96 (2:55.17)
Final km (2:42.00)

Men's 10,000m: Rupp Doesn't Show, Solinsky Drops Out, And Mo Farah Surprises Everyone

The final race of the night was the men's 10,000m, which got a lot of publicity this week with the late announcement that Americans Galen Rupp and Chris Solinsky were joining arguably the greatest 10,000m field ever assembled on American soil and would battle each other for the American record.

The problem is the battle never happened. When the runners came out from underneath Hayward Field, the local hero Galen Rupp was not among the competitors. No announcement was made, but subsequently we would learn from coach Alberto Salazar that Rupp, who had warmed up and was in the athletes' area underneath the stadium, had pulled out due to allergy concerns.

Salazar said he was going to be very scientific about the decision on whether Rupp ran. He had the local air quality people take a special allergen reading of the air on Friday. On Thursday, the reading was 4. Today it was 175 and Salazar did not want Rupp to run, although he let him warm up. None of this was conveyed to Chris Solinsky, who in his own frustrated state had some interesting comments after the race on Rupp warming up but not racing.

Fast Pace Doesn't Materialize
Much like the women's 5,000m, the fast pace that was expected from the gun never got going, perhaps due to the warm-ish conditions (mid-60s). Pre-race buzz had talked of a 13:18 or even 13:14 5k split. The actual split would be 13:26. But before 5,000m was reached, there was more drama on the American front. Chris Solinsky had throughout the race been at the back of the main pack ahead of the followers, which included Brit Mo Farah. The first quarter of the race was covered in 6:45 (27:00 pace). Just after 3,000m (8:05.24), Solinsky dropped out.

Before the race had ended, a frustrated Solinsky revealed that he has had a hamstring issue that has plagued him nearly all of 2011. It got worse as the race went on and Chris did not want to ruin his chances at USATF nationals in three weeks' time. Clearly frustrated, he said, "I just didn't want to risk the rest of the year on this race." He added with emphasis, "I don't drop out of races," before saying, "I thought I was ready to go, but I think we're just a week or so away." When asked if he knew what happened with Rupp, Chris (who in all fairness was hacked off about dropping out and knew nothing of the allergy situation) said he saw Galen in the athlete holding area underneath the stadium. Then Chris said, "I wouldn't be surprised if they run tomorrow and it was a ploy." When further discussing his hamstring injury and having to drop out, Chris said, "I want to cuss like crazy. I threw away an amazing opportunity. I'm going to be pissed at myself for a long, long, long time. I feel like the biggest pussy. Sorry for the bad language."

Meanwhile, the race on the track was heating up. As mentioned above, the 5,000m was reached in 13:26 and Farah was back off of the main pack. As the pace did not pick up, Farah was able to join the main pack. After 7k, the pace slowed the next 2 km (2:43.48, 2:44.56), as some in the lead pack began to jostle for position and some, like Diamond League Champion Imane Merga (making his 10,000m debut), seemed impatient. With the tempo slowing to around 66-per-lap pace, Farah put himself in good position. He moved into 3rd with 2k to go and he took the lead with 3 laps to go. With 600m to go, 6 challengers were still in contention.

The biggest problem for Farah was that the super-fast finisher Imane Merga was right on his shoulder. Merga could not draw it up better on paper. Farah, however, was ratcheting down the pace. At the bell, it was Farah and Merga 1-2, with World Junior Champion Josphat Bett and Olympic silver medallist Zersenay Tadesse in contention. With 200m to go, when you expected Merga to go by Farah, the exact opposite happened. Farah pulled away comfortably for the win in a European record 26:46.57, beating Jon Brown's old British record by over half a minute. Nine guys would break 27 minutes and 14 would set PRs.

It was the biggest win of Farah's career, as he covered the last kilometer in 2:30.72. Nearly last in the field at one point, he had done the unprobable and won the race versus the strongest 10,000m field since the World Championships. He also stayed undefeated in 2011. It may have altered his plans for 2011 as well. After the race, Farah said, "It's a different race tonight ... I just sat ... In a major championship, it will be very different ... I know I'm a lot different athlete than I was a few years ago when I finished 6th or 7th (in the world) ... Our aim was always to do the 5,000m (at Worlds) but now I don't know what he's (Alberto's) going to say."

Salazar was a bit surprised Farah won, as Alberto expected a faster earlier pace, but Alberto was not surprised by Farah's time. Alberto had this to say: "I'm not surprised at all. I predicted he'd run 26:50. I told him he wanted to do it with a negative split. 13:28 and come back faster and that is what he did. Both of them (Farah and training partner Galen Rupp) have trained great. Way ahead of anything they've ever done. I was very certain they'd break 27."

High Praise For Rupp
Although Galen Rupp did not run on Friday, Mo Farah had this to say about Rupp: "What I run (today), he would have run."

Results and post-race comments below.

1
GBR
26:46.57
AR,MR
2
ETH
26:48.35
PB
3
KEN
26:48.99
PB
4
KEN
26:50.63
PB
5
ERI
26:51.09
6
ETH
26:52.84
7
KEN
26:54.25
PB
8
KEN
26:54.64
PB
9
KEN
26:55.29
PB
10
KEN
27:06.35
11
KEN
27:10.05
12
KEN
27:12.24
PB
13
KEN
27:22.09
PB
14
ETH
27:22.54
15
KEN
27:28.20
PB
16
KEN
27:30.61
PB
17
ERI
27:37.21
PB
18
ETH
27:48.84
PB
19
KEN
27:51.92
PB
20
KEN
28:04.63
 
IRL
DNF
 
KEN
DNF
 
KEN
DNF
 
USA
DNF
 
USA
DNF
 
ERI
DNF
 
USA
DNS

Intermediate times:
1,000m Korir, Jacob (KEN) 2:43.25
2,000m Rotich, Lucas Kimeli (KEN) 5:24.24 (2:40.99)
3,000m Rotich, Lucas Kimeli (KEN) 8:05.24 (2:41.00)
4,000m Rotich, Lucas Kimeli (KEN) 10:45.02 (2:39.78)
5,000m  Merga, Imane (ETH) 13:26.05 (2:41.02)
6,000m Kuma, Abera (ETH) 16:07.17 (2:41.12)
7,000m Kisorio, Matthew Kipkoech (KEN) 18:47.91 (2:40.74)
8,000m Korir, Jacob (KEN) 21:31.29 (2:43.38)
9,000m Farah, Mohammed (GBR) 24:15.85 (2:44.56)
Final km (2:30.72)

A Super-Frustrated Chris Solinsky Speaks

Mo Farah On His Huge Win

Alberto On Mo Winning And Galen Not Running

*Photos
*Moses Mosop Smashes 30k World Record And Says He Can Run 2:02 In The Marathon

Full Disclosure: The Prefontaine Classic has been advertising its live Distance Night in Eugene feed and pre- and post-meet live shows on LetsRun.com this week.

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